Precision Barn Builders, LLC

Why is my roof leaking when it's less than two years old?


This photograph was taken in a barn loft of a barn that is around 5 years old.  Look closely and you'll notice that the scabbed rafters are twisted (warping). This is most noticeable on the board on the right hand side of this picture. When rafters are run in the wrong direction and supported on 12' spans (instead of placing a rafter every 2 feet*) and the rafter is used to function also as lathing, the barn builder is inviting trouble for the unsuspecting customer.  A barn builder framing in this style, to put the roof on the barn, will screw the roof metal through the insulation and directly into the narrow side of the rafter.  That's fine until the boards get a little age on them and Mother Nature gives out her first little test.  In Georgia, over very little time, the rafter will curl (warp) ever so slightly at first; hardly enough to be visibly noticed.  Where ever the wood slightly twists, it pulls on the closest metal roofing screw that secures that area of the metal to the board.  The screw stays secure in the board but pulls  through the metal.  Have you ever noticed even how little a hole is necessary to pierce a seal for water to leak?  It takes very little pull into the metal to let moisture find a way to creep into the barn and onto the rafter  At this point, the rafter begins to rot.

Understanding Quality

Construction is the Foundation to

Building a Legacy


The mission of Precision Barn Builders, LLC is to

use natural resources responsibly, respectfully,

and wisely so that your barn is still standing

strong for future generations to enjoy.  Damon

Hunt is committed to building your custom barn

for typically less money than pre-fabricated kits or

fees charged by other Georgia barn builders. 

Many promise the same barn design but "buyer beware" - that is not what many barn builders deliver. Through old-fashioned, time-proven craftsmanship Precision Barn Builder's intention is to give your barn the greatest life expectancy with the fewest maintenance issues.  


Most contemporary framing methods that save the home owner money by reducing framing materials, approved by many counties for agricultural structures, will pass inspection.  But, what is not shared with the unsuspecting barn owner is the predicted life expectancy of their barn:  around 25 - 40 years.  And, if that's not discouraging, we have been called to fix beautiful barns where the roof will leak within the first two years.  The builder's response?   "What do you expect?  It's a barn!"  At Precision Barn Builders, LLC we believe the phrase that stands the test of time, "If you are going to build it, build it right."  We think you'll agree.


What shortens the lifespan of a barn?


It's not termites that causes sagging ridge lines, leaky roofs and leaning walls - it's the framing method and quality of materials.  For example, there are those in the pole barn building business who try to sell the idea that a fake pole comprised of three 2 x 6's nailed together is stronger than a solid pressure treated 6 x 6 post.  Well, do the Braves hit with laminated bats?  Hardly. For the same reason we build with solid 6 x 6 poles - not laminated fake poles.  Visit a barn built with laminated posts supported by a roof system on 12' centers that is only a few years old and you'll understand why the old-timers didn't frame that way either.  In fact, we can save you some time.  We visited them for you and took pictures.   The mission of Precision Barn Builders, LLC is to use natural resources responsibly, respectfully, and wisely so that your barn is still standing strong for future generations to enjoy.  Damon Hunt is committed to building your custom barn for typically less money than pre-fabricated kits or fees charged by other Georgia barn builders.  Many promise the same barn design but "buyer beware" - that is not what many barn builders deliver. Through old-fashioned, time-proven craftsmanship Precision Barn Builder's intention is to give your barn the greatest life expectancy with the fewest maintenance issues.  


Most contemporary framing methods that save the home owner money by reducing framing materials, approved by many counties for agricultural structures, will pass inspection.  But, what is not shared with the unsuspecting barn owner is the predicted life expectancy of their barn:  around 25 - 40 years.  And, if that's not discouraging, we have been called to fix beautiful barns where the roof will leak within the first two years.  The builder's response?   "What do you expect?  It's a barn!"  At Precision Barn Builders, LLC we believe the phrase that stands the test of time, "If you are going to build it, build it right."  We think you'll agree.


What shortens the lifespan of a barn?


It's not termites that causes sagging ridge lines, leaky roofs and leaning walls - it's the framing method and quality of materials.  For example, there are those in the pole barn building business who try to sell the idea that a fake pole comprised of three 2 x 6's nailed together is stronger than a solid pressure treated 6 x 6 post.  Well, do the Braves hit with laminated bats?  Hardly. For the same reason we build with solid 6 x 6 poles - not laminated fake poles.  Visit a barn built with laminated posts supported by a roof system on 12' centers that is only a few years old and you'll understand why the old-timers didn't frame that way either.  In fact, we can save you some time.  We visited them for you and took pictures.


Cheap Rafter Systems  - Paying less for a barn comes with a high price.


Some customers asked us to visit a nearby

neighbor's barn.  They believed the design of

the barn was similar to that which they wanted.  However, the barn owner did not recommend their well known barn builder due to problems with the

barn.  The owner allowed us to photograph  the barn in our effort to teach our customers in non-construction related businesses about quality

building techniques.  In this photograph, you

are looking at a rafter system placed for the

shed side.  Frankly, we think the rafters

are run in the wrong direction.  The 2x6 rafter

is run perpendicular to the 2x8 king rafter. 

The 3" chicken house insulation has come

loose because the thin membrane, with

compressed fiber glass on top, makes for a

prime nesting spot for birds.  If the builder

believed this material was suitable, for a

barn, they should have additionally installed

bird netting.  Regarding insulation choice,

however - this insulation, with an R value of

probably 13 or 15, is suitable for warmth and

cooling, but we typically recommend a bubble

wrap style insulation for two reasons.  First,

birds don't care for it.  Second, we do want

to reduce the roof heat in the summer, but is it realistic to think your open-sided shed will be noticeably warmer in the winter if your roof contains R15 insulation?  We can hear it now, "Hey yall!  Come 'oer here from the camp fire and stand right cheer under our warm shed roof!  Don't mind them birds!  They'll move on outta yer way!"  We felt pretty bad for this nice barn owner who, between twisting unsupported rafters and a bird sanctuary, had a mess on his hands.  Sadly, when a barn isn't framed properly from the onset, there isn't much you can do but watch it slowly fall apart. This barn is about 5 years old.   


Looking further, more problems exist with this shed side.  When we run our rafters, we don't "scab" them.  Scabbing is when you connect two boards to mimic a rafter.  In the center of the photograph, you can clearly see two scabs although the entire rafter system is scabbed.  If we have a 30' rafter span, we use a continuous 30' board.  Any time you have to put a nail in a piece of wood to gain the needed length, you have a weaker piece of wood than one that has no seam.  Why do barn builders do this?  Piecing rafters together with shorter pieces of wood is cheaper.  This rafter framing system, in our opinion, doesn't work because in the southeast we have tremendous humidity and moisture.  If you were in the Western part of the United States where moisture doesn't encourage boards to twist, there is far less exposure to problems.  Think about how a tree grows.  When you slice through a tree and make a straight board, the fibers of that wood still have a memory.  As the board ages, it will tend to curl or turn; ie "warp".  Knowledgeable framers frame for the weather conditions there structures will withstand.  Here in the South, we frame against some pretty thick heat and humidity and, when framed correctly, the barns will outlive the barn builder.

The Georgia barn builders professionals of Precision Barn Builders, LLC believe that if you are going to build something, build it right. No barn will last forever, but with correct craftsmanship, the barn builder should be long gone and forgotten about when one day, a great-great-great-great-great descendant starts thinking that the old barn has seen its better day.  

* We typically frame on 2' centers.  There have been a few barns where 3' centers were fine.  When we build for federally funded government farm projects, the federal government will require us to build on 4' centers.  There is never cause or explanation in Georgia to frame on greater than 2' - 4' centers.

Why do some walk-ways and barn shed sides lean?


Often a new customer will say, "And, I want those decorative Western-style Y-shaped things near the roof line on the posts."  When we hear this, we smile because it's so much more than decorative and we know the customer will appreciate their functional role as well.  Those decorative things are called "Wind Bracing".  Wind bracing locks the shed down solid so that no extra stress is placed on the metal.  Think about it - the only thing that keeps a shed upright is the fact that the structure is built on poles (hopefully, solid 6 x 6 pole/posts) that are sunk into the ground 3' (and, hopefully in concrete).  Then, here comes a hurricane hitting Florida and Georgia gets to buckle down for some red-on-the-radar wind and rain.  Or, one of our famous packs of tornadoes comes howling through town.  Wind bracing is helping to keep that post rock solid and the bands supporting the roof structure locked tight while Mother Nature huffs and puffs.  The metal's job is to "stay square" to keep the rain out.  You don't want the metal to have to have any other role than staying tightly in place.  The large photograph on the left shows proper wind bracing.   The double 2x10 bands rest on top of the solid 6 x 6 post and the bands rest snugly notched into the wind bracing.  The photograph on the right, a portion of one of the earlier photos above, shows a very typical brace-less shed construction style found in Georgia among barn builders.  Also, please note:  we often will see barns with decorative "only" wind-bracing.  Decorative wind bracing is bracing that has not been notched and is just nailed in place to look pretty.  Unless the customer is aware of the important function of wind bracing, they may not get their monies worth.

Building for the Future

Let the test of time make our point.  If you visit White Top, Virginia, you can ride your horse or bike on the Virgina Creeper Trail.  It's fun.  While you are there, visit the old train station called "Green Cove" located right next to the Trail.  Green cover is constructed like a simple gable-style barn.  This station, erected in 1912, stands strong today. There is no sagging ridge line and the building is fit as a fiddle.  The "old-timers" used 2 x 6 rafters placed on 2 foot centers.  Don't you want your barn to remain for generations for others to enjoy, too?